6:00 AM Saturday and I'm on the Meritt Lake trail slamming switchbacks, or maybe better said, getting slammed by them. For some reason, I'm sucking more wind than usual - might be because it's only 6:00 AM.
Up the Meritt lake trail to the junction with the Nason Ridge trail. From there, Nason Ridge trail gains a ridge crest and follows it for a bit. Right where the trail turns from the ridge crest is a boot path continuing up the crest.
The ridge tracks in a northerly direction and then turns westward before bending back to the north. Mastiff Mountain is at the end of that second northern jag of the ridge. The path desends on the east side of the final ridge portion below the jagged crest. Here the way forward is sketchy. It's probably only class two scrambling but you wouldn't want to get careless here.
Once free of the ridge, a walk mostly straight up through rock and heather to the summit. Though the summit has some trees on it, good views can be had from here.
There was another boot path descending from Mastiff but I lost it about half way down. Dropped in the the area between Mastiff and Howard and visited tiny Canaan Lake.
From the lake gained the ridge crest between the two summits and followed that up to the top of Howard. The final climb to the top looked steeper than it turned out to be.
Spent awhile on top of Howard and then headed down to Crescent Lake. I don't know what the correct route down from Howard is but it can't be the way I ended up taking. It was pretty easy and obvious for about half way and then less so after it started to get real steep and real vegetated. Mainly the brush bash from hell on a sixty degree slope. This mellowed out for a bit and then got nasty again. Thought I'd never get to the lake.
The lake was pretty but the lake basain was filled with hungry mosquitos. I didn't stay long. From the lake took the Nason Ridge trail back to the Meritt Lake trail and then back to the truck. The Nason Ridge trail is getting overgrown but is a really nice trail otherwise.
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